• Daily Aliya for Naso, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: On the day when the Tabernacle was inaugurated, the tribal leaders wished to bring inauguration gifts. Collectively they brought six covered wagons and twelve oxen to assist in transporting the Tabernacle when the Jews traveled. In addition, as representative of their respective tribes, they wished to offer individual gifts and offering. G‑d instructed Moses to accept these gifts, and that on each the following twelve days one of the leaders should bring his individual gifts. Although each leader brought identical gifts, the Torah describes each one individually.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Revi’i (4th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: This rather lengthy Aliya contains three concepts: 1) The ceremony for the sotah, a suspected adulteress who was witnessed going into seclusion with another man–despite being warned not to associate with that individual. The woman is brought to the Temple. This section of the Torah is written on parchment and then soaked in water until the ink dissolves. The woman drinks the water. If she indeed willingly committed adultery, her belly miraculously swells and she dies a gruesome death. If she is unharmed by the waters, she is cleared of any suspicion. 2) The laws of the individual who vows to be a Nazirite. Such a person must abstain from wine and grape products, allow his/her hair to grow, and may not come in contact with a human corpse. At the conclusion of the term of the vow, the Nazirite brings certain offerings in the Temple. 3) The priestly blessings.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: Now that G‑d’s presence graces the Tabernacle, G‑d instructs the Jewish people to banish certain ritually impure individuals from their encampments. Most of them were only barred from entering the Tabernacle area and its immediate environs. Only one who suffered from tzara’at (“leprosy”) was sent out of the general encampment. This section then discusses the restitution and Temple sacrifice required of one who robs his fellow and then falsely swears to maintain his innocence. If one robs a convert who then dies without leaving any heirs, the restitution is made to a priest. Also included in this section is the mitzvah to verbally confess one’s sins, and a person’s right to select a priest of his liking to whom to give the various required priestly gifts.

    The concept of “Viduy”, or verbal confession, is a powerful tool used by many, and for different reasons. Sales pitches often include not only visualizing success, but physically writing something down, making it a more tangible goal, literally. Speaking out sins has a similar effect, for it makes it more difficult to mentally block us from denying those actions from having ever happened, helps us admit that it was wrong, so we can move on and correct those actions. Emotional therapy, support groups, and even schools base much of what they do on this concept, and it all started in the Torah!

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: The total for the Gershon family: 2,630. The Merari family: 3,200. Thus the grand total of Levites eligible to transport the Tabernacle and its vessels: 8,580.

    The final Passuk in this Aliya exclaims that each Levite was counted according to their Avoda (work) and according to their Massa (burden). Apparently, work was not considered a burden to them, as we too often equate an enjoyable job as one we would never consider a burden.

  • Daily Aliya for Naso, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: This week’s reading, Naso, is the longest single portion in the Torah, containing 176 verses. The reading starts with a continuation of the Levite census and a discussion regarding their Tabernacle duties. The laws of the sotah woman and the Nazirite follow. The portion concludes with the Priestly Blessing and the offerings which the Tribal leaders brought in honor of the Tabernacle inauguration.

    In the first Aliya, G‑d informs Moses of the Tabernacle duties of the Levite families of Gershon and Merari. When the Jewish people journeyed, the Gershon family transported the Tabernacle tapestries, veils and coverings, while the Merari family carried its structural components, such as the beams, boards and pillars. A final count is given of the Levite Kehot family — those between the ages of thirty and fifty, as per G‑d’s command mentioned towards the end of last week’s reading: 2,750.

  • Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Shvi’i (7th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: Moshe is commanded to take a census of the Levites of the family of Kehot, but only those eligible to transport the Tabernacle and its vessels — those between the ages of thirty and fifty. The results of this census are given in next week’s reading. This section then describes the duties of the Kehot family. When the Tabernacle was to be dismantled, the priests would cover all the holy vessels with specially designated sacks. The Kehot family would then take the covered vessels and carry them to their destination.

    The Torah discusses in incredible detail the process required to cover and transport the Mishkan, and concludes with a warning that if the Kehot family were to touch or see any of the utensiles they were carrying, they would die (they need to be wrapped properly to avoid mishaps). The final Pessukim ask everyone to be diligent in making sure nothing happens to the Kehot family. Everything seems to be written from the perspective that the Mishkan is not a spectacle for all to see – it is a home for G-d to dwell among us, and we are to respect privacy and help others understand that as well.

  • Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: G‑d then tells Moshe to count all the firstborn Israelites — because the holiness of each Israelite firstborn was now to be “transferred” to a Levite. The census revealed that there were 273 more firstborn than Levites. Each of these “extra” firstborns (as determined by a lottery) gave five shekel to the priests, and was thus “redeemed.”

    It’s a true shame that the holiness was taken away from the firstborns. Until then, every family had a chance to have at least one member serve G-d in the Mishkan, but that was now being taken away. And at what price? The same price that the brother received for selling Yosef into slavery (Yosef was Rachel’s firstborn). Talk about rubbing it in… But one day this Avoda will be restored.

  • Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    From chabad.org: Moshe is now commanded to separately count all Levite males from the age of one month and older. The three Levite families are counted, and a leader is appointed for each of the families. The total of all (non-firstborn) Levites eligible for this census: 22,000. The family of Gershon camped due west of the Tabernacle, and was put in charge of transporting the tapestries and curtains of the Tabernacle and their accessories. The Kehot family camped directly south of the Tabernacle, and was in charge of transporting all the holy vessels. The Merari family camped to the north of the Tabernacle, and they were in charge of carrying the Tabernacle beams, panels, and sockets. Moses, Aaron, and their immediate families camped to the east of the Tabernacle.

    This sounds like a much tougher count, and one much less “useful”. while the first counted included all males between 20 and 60, this included all Levites, starting at one month old. While you could theoretically ask all males to stand in a line to be counted, you can’t do that with one month old babies and families. So Moshe had to walk by each tent, G-d told him how many people were inside each, and that’s how it was done. And all this had no useful purpose, other than to show the Jews how precious G-d thought they were.

  • Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Revi’i (4th Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: The Levites are appointed to serve in the Tabernacle, guard its vessels and assist the priests with their Tabernacle duties. This honor originally belonged to the Israelite firstborns, who were “acquired” by G‑d when He spared them during the Plague of the Firstborn. This privilege was taken away from them when they participated in the sin of the Golden Calf — and given to the Levites.

    This Aliya starts by saying that it will now list Aaron and Moshe’s descendants, and then goes on to list only Aaron’s children. If only listing Aaron’s children, why say you will list Moshe’s descendants? From this a famous lesson is learned that because Moshe taught Aaron’s children Torah, they were considered Moshe’s children as well. The idea that teaching a child is as important as having one is a profound concept that does not getting enough attention.

  • Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    From Chabad.org: The Jews are instructed regarding their camping formation. The Tabernacle was at the center of the encampment, surrounded by the “Flag of Judah” — which included the Tribes of Judah, Issachar and Zevulun — to the east; the “Flag of Reuven” — Reuven, Shimon, Gad — to the south; the “Flag of Ephraim” — Ephraim, Manasheh, Binyamin — to the west; and the “Flag of Dan” — Dan, Asher, Naftali — to the north.

    It’s tough to find anything practical when discussing the division and placement of camps when the Jews traveled in the desert, but there is one interesting lesson: Rashi says that the way they were camped is the way they traveled. The Levites staying in the middle had two advantages: 1) In case of attack they were protected on all sides by those more able to fight, and 2) At any point anyone at any tribe had direct access to the Levites and therefore a closer connection to G-d.

Back to top